The campaigns for the District 4 Berkeley City Council seat are heating up, with a potential new write-in candidate joining the race and several major endorsements recently announced.
William “Three Hundred” Caldeira — a native of Berkeley and a regular at City Council meetings — filed for candidacy last month after former candidate and UC Berkeley student Brianna Rogers dropped out of the race to focus on her studies. Though he has not been approved to be on the ballot, he is planning to run as a write-in candidate. Additionally, the Alameda County Democratic Party, the Sierra Club and the Alameda County Labor Council announced their endorsements of candidate Kate Harrison this winter.
Caldeira said he chose to run because he’s upset about the increased crime he’s witnessed in District 4. If elected, he said he would increase the police force and promote collaboration between citizens and police.
Caldeira also believes that Berkeley is starting to “leave people out” and wants to combat this problem through working on programs that would decrease rents in the city. Caldeira himself is currently facing his own problems with Berkeley’s housing environment, with a landlord who he alleges is trying to illegally evict him. As a result, Caldeira said right now he’s prioritizing keeping his housing over running his campaign.
“I’m running for office, but I don’t want to be out on the streets,” Caldeira said.
Caldeira added that he supports Harrison for the District 4 seat and joined the race, in part, to support her. Harrison is also a strong advocate for making housing in Berkeley more affordable.
Harrison has said she hopes to push for the construction of affordable housing near public transit to reduce pollution from driving. Her platform also focuses on protecting tenants and existing rental units.
“A choice between Kate Harrison and Ben Gould is a choice between Mother Earth and some can of vegetable soup,” Caldeira said.
Harrison believes that her “balanced approach to development” is what helped her gain the endorsement of the Sierra Club.
Additionally, Harrison said she was endorsed by the Alameda County Democratic Party because of her commitment to the party over many years, during which she has worked on both national and local campaigns.
Gould said that despite Harrison’s endorsements, he’s not worried about his campaign, which is more centered around grassroots efforts.
“She’s got a lot of political connections helping her with those endorsements,” Gould said. “I do not think that’s translating into actually votes on the ground.”
Gould has recently been endorsed by the Carpenters Local 713 union as well as former Emeryville mayor Jennifer West. He noted, however, that he thinks his strength in the race is a broad base of support from everyday Berkeley community members.